Sat | Apr 4, 2020

Ambitious court road map - Chief justice rolls out plan to make judiciary number one in the Caribbean

Published:Saturday | February 1, 2020 | 12:21 AMEdmond Campbell/Senior Staff Reporter
Chief Justice Bryan Sykes  shows 
off the ‘Strategic 
Plan for the 
Judiciary’.
Chief Justice Bryan Sykes shows off the ‘Strategic Plan for the Judiciary’.

Jamaica’s judiciary has crafted a bold and ambitious road map to achieve its vision of being the best in the Caribbean by 2023 and one of the best in the world in six years’ time.

Chief Justice Bryan Sykes indicated that it was the first time in the legal history of Jamaica that the judicial arm of the Government has developed and sharing with the public, a strategic business plan for the courts.

Sykes unveiled details of the plan, dubbed ‘Benchmarking the Future: Courting Success’, yesterday at the Terra Nova All Suite Hotel in St Andrew.

He told stakeholders in the justice system that the plan would ensure that there was optimum use of human, material and financial resources.

“It outlines to you, our valued stakeholders, and very importantly, the people of Jamaica, the initiatives to be undertaken by the judiciary to achieve court excellence. It also provides the platform upon which the judiciary intends its performance to be assessed. It can accomplish none of those things if its contents are kept a secret and closeted away,” he said.

As part of the key strategic objectives of the business plan for the judiciary, by 2023, backlogs within the courts should be significantly reduced, as 95 per cent of the cases coming into the courts should be disposed of within 24 months from the date of filing.

The perennial delays and multiple adjournments in the court should be a foreign concept in three years’ time, according to the chief justice. “Trial and hearing date certainty will ensure that the time of litigants, witnesses, jurors, the police, and attorneys is not wasted, as they can rest assured that the trial will begin,” he said.

Another target for the judiciary is to reduce the time persons wait for court records. He said that over the next three years, stakeholders would see an improved record-keeping and retrieval system, ensuring improved delivery of service.

The chief justice also pledged to automate some of the processes to ensure ease of access and greater efficiency by 2023.

Sykes also pointed out that the implementation of the strategic plan would be strengthened by the fact that the Court Administration Division, which was created in 2016, would be fully operationalised as of next Monday.

Speaking yesterday at the judicial function, attorney-at-law and former deputy governor of the central bank in Trinidad and Tobago, Dr Terrence Farrell said that the strategic plan outlined by Jamaica’s chief justice was bold.

Farrell said that the targets set for case-clearance rates were aggressive, noting that there might be passive resistance by those who were not amenable to change.

Further, he said that the announcement of the targets by Sykes meant that he had to deliver, as there would be little room for excuses.